Sunderland are in talks to sign boyhood Black Cats fanatic Andrew Nelson from local rivals Middlesbrough, as reported by the Northern Echo.
With just a few weeks remaining until the new League One season kicks off, Lee Johnson’s squad is taking shape at last.
In Alex Pritchard and Corry Evans, Sunderland have brought in two proven performers who, if fit and firing, could look levels above the rest in England’s third tier.
While replacing Charlie Wyke will be easier said than done, Scotland international Leigh Griffiths could still represent a sizeable upgrade on a man who became the first Sunderland player since ‘Super’ Kevin Phillips to score 30 goals in a single season.
Nelson, meanwhile, would add some cover and youth to the Black Cats’ backline, joining alongside Manchester City loanee Callum Doyle.
The report claims that Sunderland are in talks with Nelson, a Sunderland-born talent who bleeds red and white. You would think that the chance to join his boyhood club would be simply too good to miss, even when you consider he has spent the last eight years a few miles down the road at Middlesbrough.
As the Echo point out, highly-rated left-back Hayden Coulson could also be making the 30-mile trip up the A19.
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock is willing to consider offers for the 23-year-old academy graduate, with Sunderland in the market for a new, left-sided defender regardless of whether Denver Hume stays or goes.
Hume is out of contract and, unlike Wyke, Aiden McGeady and Luke O’Nien, has not yet made a decision on his future.